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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I had a tough time with HD today. Two of my favorite HD2 stations, DC101.1 and Wash 97.1 in Washington CD, were next to impossible to receive. They came in for a few seconds and then went out. Most of my enjoyment with HD radio is receiving these "hidden" stations, the ones playing "between the stations." Yet, although the HD1 station signals were strong, the HD2 broadcasts did not come in. This was very frustrating. I bought my radio and invested my money to hear these stations.


HD radio is advertised to the consumer by explaining that there are extra HD2 stations to enjoy. Yet how can we enjoy them if they don't come in? It is not a matter of a weak receiver or remote location; the primary broadcast comes in fine. It is because the HD2 signal is weaker thn the HD1 signal. Why? Did the stations skimp on money because they did not invest in their HD2 signal strength?


I heard the HD advertisements. I wanted to enjoy all that is out there on HD. I invested money in an expensive HD receiver. Yet some of the "extra" HD2 stations are weak and hard to receive. Why is Ibiquity advertising extra stations that are difficult to get and therefore very hard to enjoy.


I am not hard to please. Let me enjoy my HD2 stations. That is why I bought my radio.
 

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I have literally never found a situation where I could receive the primary channel (HD1) digitally, but couldn't get the HD2 channel, if it was present. The HD 2 channel is NOT "weaker". Some stations don't have HD2 channels, and at some they're off part of the time as they are "tweaked" to get them "ready for primetime".


Early TV viewers were greeted with a test pattern for much of the day. Sucks, doesn't it? (Sigh). Welcome to early adopterville!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Early TV viewers were greeted with a test pattern for much of the day. Sucks, doesn't it? (Sigh). Welcome to early adopterville!

I have no problem if this is a feature of early HD technology and will be solved. But if the few of us who have bought HD radios don't report and complain about deficiencies, how can they be worked on?


I'm willing to bet there are others who have trouble with the HD2 stations; at least one has said so already. I have e-mailed Ibiquity about this. There is no reason that an HD1 station comes in strongly yet the HD2 station does not come in as well. This occurs on at least 2 of my stations. If Ibiquity sees these complaints on public forums perhaps they will get to work. I know I am not in a unique situation; if I have these problems, others will too. Please see my post entitled, "two problems with Hd radio."
 

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I agree Mike. The second channel is imbedded in the digital stream, not a separate carrier. As I understand it, the carrier above center frequency is a carbon copy of the carrier below it, it's basically used for redundancy. I'd look at one service an advantage, it means they might be broadcasting 96 Kb/s rather than 48Kb for each of the two channels.


I wish someone here in the Bay Area was transnitting 96 Kb so I could listen to it.


Bob Smith
 

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Another problem is broadcasters ignoring their HD2 channels. I have noted stations here in Atlanta that allow their HD2 signals to go silent for hours or days at a time. The "carrier" is still there, displayed by my tuner, but no sound. If a radio station goes to "dead air" the situation is treated as a crisis. The station engineer will be rousted from slumber in the middle of the night. He'd better get the signal back on the air within the hour unless the tower has fallen. But if the HD2 signal goes flat, nobody associated with the station is monitoring it. If I try to call the station nobody even answers the phone. There's nothing but a robot computer running the station, and if the computer hangs there's nobody there to reboot it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picspop /forum/post/0


Another problem is broadcasters ignoring their HD2 channels. I have noted stations here in Atlanta that allow their HD2 signals to go silent for hours or days at a time.

I can admit to that. The computer that pretty much IS our HD 2 station had a coronary on a Saturday afternoon. It's not located where the main operator can get to it. And there aren't enough listeners to make it a priority, so it sat silent until Monday morning at 8:30 when the program director got to the station to re-start it.


There were no e-mail or phoned in complaints. To mgt, it appears I'm the only one who noticed.


Same used to happen with digital television. Chief engineer that I know purposely turned off the DTV transmitter on a Tuesday just to see how long it would take someone to complain. I called him on Thursday just to see why it had been off so long. Mine was the first call.


Doc
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yea, I'll be specific, picspop: WTOP 103.5 in Washington DC. Their HD2 station was broadcasting at an almost imperceptible volume level. You could hear it, faintly, barely. In other words there was a technical problem that no one seemed to be in a hurry to fix. Ibiquity should contact these stations and urge them to repair this highly advertised product or the reputation will start to suffer.
 

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Doc, the reason ABC radio didn't get my e-mail complaint is because the listed e-mail address was full and all messages bounced. Not only do they not monitor their station, they don't even read their e-mail. As in your situation, the problem resolved at 8:30 on Monday morning. Same thing with 105.7HD2 this weekend; back on the air today. They call themselves "Viva!" A better name would be "Despierta!".
 

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Picspop..


That's SAD. We're not allowed to ignore the e-mail forms.


I do wish we could at least monitor and control the HD-2 stream from the control room. In the old days when I first started, we used to have a big red light to tell us when the FM (then automated) went off the air.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dead of night /forum/post/0


Their HD2 station was broadcasting at an almost imperceptible volume level. You could hear it, faintly, barely. In other words there was a technical problem that no one seemed to be in a hurry to fix. Ibiquity should contact these stations and urge them to repair this highly advertised product or the reputation will start to suffer.

Do you honestly think Ibiquity is monitoring all thousand HD Radio staitons 24 hours a day and is responsible for making sure stations use their equipment properly?


Why don't you contact the station and tell them what the problem is so they can fix it? I've emailed every single HD Radio station in my area whenever they've screwed up and with only one exception every staiton has responded quickly and cheerfully, glad to hear that someone out there is actually listening to their digital station.


You may have to fish around on their web site to find an email address and that email may get forwarded to an engineer but I've had 100% success in getting responses from the stations I've emailed.
 

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I've gotta' go with Scowl. It isn't Ibiquity's job to make sure stations are using their equipment properly, or even that their HD2 stream is working at all. That's the PD's job. Talk to him/her. If it happens a second time, talk to his or her BOSS. That often gets their (programming's) attention!
 

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I agree with those who observe that HD multicast streams are embedded within the digital signals and do not depend upon reception conditions. If you get HD, you get HD1, HD2, HD3 and so on.


For reasons stated previously, radio stations do not consider HD a priority because so few receivers are in use. But how do they expect to "grow" the HD market if they don't provide reliable signals?


Denver is supposed to have 12 HD2 signals, but if you scan the dial, it's VERY rare to hear all of them working at the same time. Sometimes a station's entire digital signal goes away for days or weeks at a time. One of the stations (KOSI, owned by Entercom) transmits its HD2 at a dramatically higher audio level than the standard. They use the technology only to demonstrate their technical incompetence.


I second the motion that HD listeners should complain relentlessly to the stations. Otherwise, they will continue to believe that HD is just a kooky, new technology embraced only by a few audio geeks.


And if HD promises "near-CD quality", why demolish its fidelity with analogue-like processing? Many of the stations here sound at least as ugly on HD as they do on standard FM.


The broadcasting groups that purport to embrace HD claim they are investing(through the HD Alliance) hundreds of millions of dollars in air-time to promote the new technology. The "suits" had better get their local program directors and engineers on board.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dead of night /forum/post/0


no e-mail address at the station web site I'm most concerned with. There's plenty of advertisements, though.

That's my complaint about MOST websites. No e-mail, no phone number, often there's not even an indication of the city where they are physically located.

And, it seems like no one ever reads the "contact" forms, either
.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dead of night /forum/post/0


no e-mail address at the station web site I'm most concerned with. There's plenty of advertisements, though.

OK, I guess I'll have to talk you through this....


Go to http://www.wtop.com/?nid=56&sid=597520 At the bottom of the page there is a comment form. In the "To:" menu, select "WTOP Programming Comments". Enter your complaint. This will send an email to someone who will most likely forward it to the Chief Engineer.


I've sent email to stations' sales department, programming department and news department. Once they see a bunch of technical words, they've always forwarded the email to the C.E.
 

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Quote:
Denver is supposed to have 12 HD2 signals, but if you scan the dial, it's VERY rare to hear all of them working at the same time. Sometimes a station's entire digital signal goes away for days or weeks at a time. One of the stations (KOSI, owned by Entercom) transmits its HD2 at a dramatically higher audio level than the standard. They use the technology only to demonstrate their technical incompetence.

I just scanned the FM band in Denver and found that of the 12 HD2 stations that are listed by Ibiquity on their web site, 10 are transmitting an HD2 signal right now. KQMT and KRFX were the two that had no HD2 signal. The two HD2's that I listen to the most, KXKL and KALC, are always on the air when I turn my Accurian on. I did not notice any disparity in audio levels between KOSI HD and HD2, but that doesn't mean it hasn't now been fixed or that my ears are are too old to tell any difference.


I think a lot of this is just growing pains coupled with the fact that there are only a few listeners, so fixing problems (or even noticing them sometimes) is not going to happen as quickly as we'd like it to. Couple that with the fact that since I don't listen to KQMT and KRFX, I wouldn't know if there was a problem had I not looked for one as I did today, so we have a multiplier effect of a few listeners out of a total of a few listeners. If a station knows about a problem and doesn't fix it, well, that's a different animal.


We have 3 digital Spanish language TV stations on the air locally. KTFD has problems which result in nothing but a black screen - no picture, no sound. Been this way for months. KDEN's picture is so bad, it looks like they are rebroadcasting reception of their analog signal. It also is in B & W in the middle of the screen, with orange/red hues on the sides. Been this way for months. KDEV's PSIP is so screwed up either no one can receive it at all, or it has a picture that freezes without ever having any sound. Been this way since they upped their power with full licensing. Digital TV has been around for a lot longer than the 1 year or so of IBOC radio and multiple situations such as those described above still abound. As a side note, none of these TV stations have a web site or even a listing in the phone book, so they apparently don't care to receive information about their reception problems. From this aspect, I'm rather pleased that I can receive 10 out of 12 HD2 signals.


Finally, while this isn't quite on point for this thread, I also receive for HD signals from stations in Ft. Collins/Greeley (KUVO, KUNC, KSME, KUAD, and KPAW), approximately 75-90 miles away from me, depending on where their transmitters are located. I also receive KQLF in HD from Cheyenne, easily 100 miles away. And some new HD stations are on the air that are not listed on Ibiquity's web site, such as KSME and KQLF (above) and Jack FM. So I think progress is being made.
 

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I have worked with several radio stations, and honestly, up until now they have not had equipment they could reliably test their signals on. Most of them were using a modified Kenwood car stereo to test signal.


We have distributed nearly 10K HD Radio Tuners to radio stations across America and more to come. And every one that I have talked to are happy to get it so they can fix their signals. The engineeres want to change it, but the chicken and the egg problem exists not only from stations to consumers, but manufacturers to stations, stations to engineers . . .


Someone will need to show them the chicken is here. . .now give us the egg. Call your stations. . . let them know. If the signal goes down, call the station! If the sound is horrible, let them know. They are, in most cases willing to fix it. As we progress we will see dramatic leaps and bounds, but it is also because most stations don't know how many people have bought radios in their area as well.


Even if their signal is up and working, send them an e-mail to let them know you know. That may even help motivate more improvement. Well, until they start advertizing on them. . . but that is a different argument.


As for iBiquity. . . I work with them all the time and I have to say, they are all intelligent hard working people that have been working to pioneer a new technology that will revolutionise radio only to encounter a situation where retailers won't want to carry HD Radios because they can't sell subscriptions, or becasue they don't know enough about it or consumer interest and want to see how it launches. . .Then a bunch of stations that are adopting that don't want to invest until they KNOW people are listening, and consumers that, even if they wanted to buy have to search for someone selling the units, or that don't know enough about the binefits because retailers are not helping educate them on the new technolgy, and the radio stations aren't providing the content and service they are advertising as a binefit. They have a lot of work do to, and it will be hard work, but HD Radio is here and likely here to stay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

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Originally Posted by Mike Walker /forum/post/0


I've gotta' go with Scowl. It isn't Ibiquity's job to make sure stations are using their equipment properly, or even that their HD2 stream is working at all. That's the PD's job. Talk to him/her. If it happens a second time, talk to his or her BOSS. That often gets their (programming's) attention!

I respectfully disagree with you, Mike. It is Ibiquity's job to make sure the stations are using the equipment properly: Ibiquity invented and persuaded us to buy HD radio, they install the equipment, they offer incentives to buy receivers. It is up to Ibiquity to stand behind HD radio by making sure it is working. But most importantly, they have more influence over radio stations because they can contact the managers directly and work with them.


Thus, I have contacted Ibiquity and in turn, they have contacted the specific radio stations I mentioned in my e-mail, and everything has improved. Thanks Ibiquity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

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If the signal goes down, call the station!

Master Theseus: With all due respect, the djs and program managers of major radio stations are not standing around waiting to talk to listeners, hundreds of thousands of them. Maybe I'll call NBC or CBS and talk to the program manager there, too; they're just dying to talk to me.

For example:


"Hey you know what, the blonde on Gray's Anatomy didn't get enough air time tonight, can you help me?"
 

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Quote:
I respectfully disagree with you, Mike. It is Ibiquity's job to make sure the stations are using the equipment properly: Ibiquity invented and persuaded us to buy HD radio, they install the equipment, they offer incentives to buy receivers. It is up to Ibiquity to stand behind HD radio by making sure it is working. But most importantly, they have more influence over radio stations because they can contact the managers directly and work with them.

I think you're way off base, dead of night. Following your logic, if my car doesn't run right, I should contact the heirs to Henry Ford, if my airline seat wasn't comfortable or the flight was late, I should contact the heirs to the Wright Brothers, and if my hamburger doesn't seem perfect, I should contact the rancher who raised the cow? While Ibiquity may have invented and installed the equipment for HD radio stations, they have no business telling radio stations what to do or not to do.
 
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